On May 4, Republicans on the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee approved and reported out House Bill 1144 (Causer-R-Cameron) which would not only roll back environmental protection standards for conventional oil and gas wells, but would also make road dumping of drilling wastewater legal again.
The bill was reported out by a largely party-line vote– Republicans and one Democratic member supporting.
The bill now goes to the full House for action.
Gov. Wolf vetoed similar legislation in November [Read more here].
Above article taken from the PA Environmental digest. For more information on the above, go to http://www.paenvironmentdigest.com/newsletter/default.asp?NewsletterArticleID=53060&SubjectID=http://www.paenvironmentdigest.com/newsletter/default.asp?NewsletterArticleID=53060&SubjectID=
The PFBC is offering a Virtual Paddling Safety Information Program- “Paddling Basics for Beginners”:
WHEN: 5/13/21 (12pm – 1pm)
REGISTRATION LINK: https://www.register-ed.com/events/view/167226
ABOUT: Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go paddling? Now is your opportunity to learn about paddling safety and legal requirements. Join PFBC staff for this FREE virtual program, designed to introduce you to the basics of paddling safety!
* Where do I start?
* What do I need?
* Life jackets.
* Types of boats.
* What to wear.
* Where to go.
Basics of Fishing (Virtual Program)- two dates to choose from or attend both!
Pre-registration is required. Use these links to register for your preferred date-
May 26th: https://www.register-ed.com/events/view/168325
June 9th: https://www.register-ed.com/events/view/168326
Program Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Description: Are you interested in fishing but you aren’t sure where to start? This virtual program will cover popular game fish identification, equipment, skills, fishing techniques, and even help you navigate different resources to find a spot to fish near you!
When you pre-register you will receive a link and instructions on how to access this virtual program.
Here is a great site where you can learn about ticks and get a weekly tick report. https://www.ticklab.org/
The Native Fish Coalition of Pennsylvania is urging the Fish and Boat Commission to end the stocking of nonnative trout species and is asking anglers to support an online petition to the Commission on this issue.
Pennsylvania is home to 113 native species and is rich in limestone deposits and springs creating nearly ideal conditions for coldwater species, including the brook trout, Pennsylvania’s official state fish.
The brook trout is one of only two trout, salmon, or charr that are native to the state, along with lake trout, and are said to occupy over 4,000 miles of rivers and streams.
Wild native brook trout populations have been seriously compromised, or lost, from most lakes, ponds, rivers, and large streams in Pennsylvania.
With the exception of Big Spring, most of the fabled limestone creeks such as Letort and Falling Springs are now all but devoid of wild native brook trout.
In many cases, the introduction of nonnative trout, mostly browns, has compromised the native trout. Nonnative rainbows are an issue in some waters as well, and now pose a threat to the wild native brook trout in Big Spring.
Stocking also poses a threat to wild native fish in Pennsylvania with the Fish and Boat Commission stocking nearly 3.2 million trout in 2020 alone. Another 1.25 million were stocked by private parties, most of which were stocked in public waterways.
For more information on this issue, visit the Native Fish Coalition of PA’s online petition webpage.
The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee is scheduled to meet on May 4 to consider House Bill 1144 (Causer-R-Cameron) which would not only roll back environmental protection standards for conventional oil and gas wells, but would also make road dumping of drilling wastewater legal again.
On April 22, conventional drilling industry representatives on the PA Grade Crude (Oil) Development Advisory Council said their number one priority was finding ways of disposing of drilling wastewater, including allowing road dumping.
Over 195 statewide and local environmental groups and over 1,655 citizens have made it clear to legislators they oppose this legislation when it was introduced last session. Read more here.
Gov. Wolf vetoed similar legislation in November].
This bill and its Senate companion– Senate Bill 534 (Hutchinson-R-Venango)– were introduced as a follow up to action by the General Assembly to kill DEP’s final updated conventional drilling regulations in 2016 because the industry thought they were too strict.
The law then created the PA Grade Crude Development Advisory Council, made up of all industry-related individuals, that was supposed to “advise” DEP on development a new update to the conventional drilling regulations, but so far no draft regulations have been discussed by the Council since it was created in 2016.
DEP said in September it plans to move ahead with developing updated regulations covering conventional drilling since “legislative discussions have not resulted in a viable product….” .
DEP has been reviewing draft conventional drilling regulations with the Council and other groups for the last several months.
Road Dumping Of Drilling Wastewater
Of particular concern are provisions related to legalizing the road dumping of drilling wastewater from conventional operations.
The House removed those provisions before sending the bill to the Governor last year, but they are back again in the new bills.
As a result of a 2017 appeal to the Environmental Hearing Board, DEP’s Oil and Gas Program imposed a moratorium on all road dumping of wastewater from wells in the state in 2018.
However, the dumping of wastewater from oil and gas wells on roads is still authorized under the DEP Waste Management Program under a co-product determination which allows the use of waste that has similar properties to commercial products as if it was that product.
While DEP told the Citizens Advisory Council in January they have no plans to develop a regulation or permit to authorize the road spreading of wastewater from wells, DEP and the Pennsylvania Grade Crude (Oil) Development Advisory Council have been in discussions on the issue most of last year and this year.
Recent research by Penn State and others has shown the road spreading of wastewater from wells as a dust suppressant is not only not effective, but contaminates the roads and wash sediment and pollutants into nearby streams.
There has also been other research pointing to not only environmental but also health impacts from using oil and gas well wastewater for dust control. Click Here for a summary.
Another recent study found that between 1991 and 2017, 240.4 million gallons of wastewater from conventional oil and gas wells were applied to roads, according to DEP records.
A report released by Earthworks in September documented how 380 million barrels of Pennsylvania oil and gas drilling wastewater (conventional and unconventional) was disposed of, including by road dumping.
The annual report of the Crude (Oil) Development Advisory Council contains a special section devoted to the issue of oil and gas production water issues, including the goal of reinstating the road spreading program, leaving no doubt about their political intentions.
Road Dumping Anywhere
The Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment last year released a map showing unpaved roads in Pennsylvania, each of which could become new dumpsites, if the General Assembly passes these legalizing the road dumping of conventional oil and gas drilling wastewater.
The primary areas to be affected would be unpaved dirt and gravel roads anywhere there is conventional oil and gas drilling in the state
The Chapter will have a table in downtown Williamsport at the Get Outdoors event hosted by the Williamsport Business Association. The event will be held on Ssturday May 1 onPine Street between W 3rd Street and North Street. This is a free event with lots of vendors, live music and fun for all ages. The event runs from 9am – 1pm. We hope to see you there
Angler/Paddler Alert for Union County:
Please be advised while fishing or paddling along Penns Creek downstream of Cherry Run, Union County. A collapsed steel pedestrian bridge has fallen into the water at this location, causing a potentially hazardous obstruction. This obstruction is approximately ½ mile downstream from the confluence with Cherry Run off Weikert Road. The Herndon Rod and Gun Club, which owns the bridge, is tentatively scheduled to remove the structure on May 14th using heavy equipment.
The monthly meeting of the Susquehanna Chapter of Trout Unlimited for Wednesday April 14, 2021 has been changed to 7:00 PM at Covenant Central Church. There will be no brown bag picnic. We will have presentations about our TAG grant, the Get Outdoors Program on May 1 and a discussion about a possible outing in May.
The meeting was previously scheduled to be held at the Trout Run Park and this has been changed to be held at the Covenant Central Presbyterian Church.
Masks are required and social distancing will be practiced.
The April 2021 issue of the Susquehanna Ripples is now available. You can get your copy here